RandoMonday: Batman and Robin #23

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

BatmanandRobin23

Batman and Robin #23 by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, Mark Irwin, John Kalisz, Carlos M. Mangual, Darren Shan, and Rachel Cluckstern

“Acceptance”. *sigh* This issue came six months (!) after Damian Wayne/Robin was murdered by his clone in the epic battle between Talia Al Ghul and Batman (as seen in Batman, Incorporated, specifically issue 8). In this issue, for the past three days, Batman is using virtual technology to prove he could have saved his son, so Alfred calls Dick Grayson in to talk his mentor out of this futile exercise. But because Dick knows Bruce so well (and in many ways, better than anybody), he doesn’t talk Bruce out of it, he joins him. Together, Batman and the former Robin are able to save Damian, allowing Bruce to reach a form of acceptance. But there is another man who’s needs to reach that stage of grief: Alfred. He runs a simulation where he prevented Damian from leaving Wayne Manor in the first place, thus preventing his death. Bruce then tells Alfred he is sorry, “I was too selfish to realize we both lost a son.” Reading that again after six years still gets to me.

This volume of Batman and Robin is one of the best Batman series ever. Gleason, Tomasi, and the others paint a haunting portrait of a man who lost a son and cannot really move past it. Yes, in this issue, Bruce does come to a form of acceptance, but it is a only a step that allows him to move to a different obsessive stage, setting up the next story arc.

The art in this issue is spectacular. We see some events of Batman, Incorporated #8 retold in ways that make the story even more poignant and personal for Batman. The one panel of Batman on the ground, unable to save his son as we hear the sickening sound effect of “SHUNNK” and the look on his face, especially his one exposed eye, is SO DAMN GOOD. It’s a feint, because Nightwing is the one stabbing Robin’s killer, saving the boy in this simulation, but I also read this as Bruce’s reaction to Nightwing killing to save his son. Imagine how Batman must feel to see his first son kill to save his younger son? It’s a part of the story that goes unexplored, but only serves to highlight how good of a comic book series this is to me.

If you have not read this volume, I highly recommend it.

 

RandoMonday: Alpha Flight #27

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

alpha flight 27

 

Alpha Flight #27 by John Byrne, Keith Williams, Andy Yanchus, Rick, Parker, and Dennis O’Neil

The first 2+ years of Alpha Flight volume 1 was sooo good. It had great characters, stories, art, and superhero angst, which this issue delivered. We have already learned that that the just returned Guardian, whom we thought dead for the last year, is in fact Delphine Courtney, an android intent on destroying Alpha Flight. In the ruckus, “Guardian” takes Shaman’s medicine pouch and turns it inside out, unleashing the mysterious void inside. Nearly all of Alpha Flight is trapped inside, and it is up to Shaman and Talisman to save them. But tragedy strikes when Shaman is unable to help his daughter escape the void before it returns to the pouch, trapping his daughter inside.

Say what you will about Byrne as a person, he did a great job of producing comic books. This issue is very wordy, yet Byrne’s draftsmanship doesn’t make the pages feel overly crowded and the art doesn’t suffer for it either. His depiction of the void as it unleashed in our dimension is simple but interesting visually. Also, the look on Shaman’s face at the very end is soap operatic, but I still feel for the guy (and knowing what comes later makes it even more distressful). I stopped collecting this series with issue 30, so I don’t know if the book’s quality was maintained after Byrne left. Let me know if I should read more!

What do you think of this issue?

RandoMonday: Lazarus #24

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

lazarus 24

Lazarus #24 by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Tyler Boss, Santi Arcas, and Jodi Wynne

“Cull”, part 3. Corporal Casey Solomon is called up for Dagger duty to help the Carlyle family take out the Rausling family. Forever Carlyle confronts her “father” about knowing the truth of her situation: that she is not Carlyle’s biological daughter and that the family drugs her to keep her in line. Mr. Carlyle and the family discuss what to do about this, deciding to increase the drug regimen Forever will take in order to keep her loyal to the family. Her “sister”, Johanna, disagrees, wanting to tell Forever the truth, so against her father’s word, she takes Forever to a lab filled with vats full of body parts.

I recall that the “Cull” storyline was where things ramped up significantly plot-wise, and I quite enjoyed the new status quo, the effects of which are still being felt and dealt with now in Lazarus: Risen. This is also where I really doubted my presumptions about Johanna — was she using the truth with Forever just to gain and keep power in the family, or did she truly care about Forever, or perhaps it is both? I still don’t know the answer, and I love that! With family, things are rarely resolved, and we often just accept the situation and move on with our lives. This is one of the aspects of this title that I love so much.

What do you think of this issue?